arm's length


Definition of arm's length

1 : a distance discouraging personal contact or familiarity kept former friends at arm's length now
2 : the condition or fact that the parties to a transaction are independent and on an equal footing

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from arm's length

arm's-length adjective

Examples of arm's length in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Frenchman created United's opening goal and was so strong on the ball, always seeming to keep the nearest Leeds defender at arm's length when in possession., "4 Things We Learned From Man Utd's Comfortable 4-0 Pre-Season Win Over Leeds," 17 July 2019 As the videos show, U.S. authorities keep them at arm's length while also responding to reports of people entering the country illegally. Fox News, "Civilian border militia spokesman indicted for impersonating US officer: prosecutors," 24 June 2019 So far, the Chinese leadership in Beijing has keep largely at arm's length over the bill, at least publicly. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "Hong Kong braces for more protests as political pressure builds to delay or scrap extradition bill," 14 June 2019 Both have kept arm's length from the more radical stances demanded by the party's activist wing, while also trying to appeal both to centrist Democrats and progressives. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Julián Castro went for Beto O'Rourke's jugular by questioning his grasp of immigration law," 27 June 2019 Some prominent players, though, have kept her at arm's length, including the California Labor Federation. Melanie Mason,, "She was a #MeToo leader. After sexual harassment accusations, she is fighting to be reelected," 29 May 2018 Trump has no personal rapport with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and is kept at arm's length by British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose public reviles Trump and opposes him even visiting their nation. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Is Trump and Macron’s meeting a showdown over the West?," 23 Apr. 2018 Both sides are keeping the Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigrant party with roots in a neo-Nazi movement that got nearly 18 percent, at arm's length. Fox News, "The Latest: Sweden faces uncertainty after close election," 10 Sep. 2018 Clearing the western horizon at an altitude of 10 degrees (the width of your fist held at arm's length) will be Venus, appearing absolutely dazzling at a magnitude of -4.2. Joe Rao,, "The Moon Has a Close Encounter with Saturn on Tuesday Night," 23 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arm's length.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of arm's length

1655, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about arm's length

Dictionary Entries near arm's length




arm's length




Statistics for arm's length

Last Updated

29 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for arm's length

The first known use of arm's length was in 1655

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for arm's length

arm's length


Legal Definition of arm's length

: the condition of the parties to a business deal in which each has independent interests and one does not dominate the other often used in the phrase at arm's length a contract made at arm's length

Other Words from arm's length

arm's-length adjective

Comments on arm's length

What made you want to look up arm's length? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


of or relating to the heavens

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!